On Monday 19 December the Planning Inspectorate confirmed to Bircham Dyson Bell, lawyers for RiverOak, that Section 53 authorisation (permission to access the Manston Airport site), has now been granted.
Whilst a considerable amount of environmental analysis has already been completed, access to the site has always been preferable to provide the necessary level of detail for a Development Consent Order application. RiverOak’s environmental consulting team, led by Amec Foster Wheeler, will now make arrangements to visit the site as soon as possible in order to assess the site for the production of the Environmental Statement that will accompany the application. As much data as possible will also be used for the Preliminary Environmental Information Report.
This report, together with other work already well underway, will be made available during the process of statutory consultation, which will take place as soon as possible in 2017.
The Leader of Thanet District Council, Councillor Chris Wells commented:
“I have been told today that section 53 access to the Manston Airport site has been granted by the Secretary of State, although as yet no formal confirmation has appeared. I am not surprised by this news, as the early stages of any pre application DCO process concentrate on the potential capacity of the site, to understand if what is being considered is ‘a distinct project of real substance genuinely requiring entry onto the land’.
The capacity of the potential applicant to undertake the proposed project, and its value to be assessed as a nationally significant infrastructure project, comes later. And even with the best of Christmas spirit in mind, it is within the basics of proving finance and business planning that Riveroak have, to date, been found wanting.
We shall all see how things now develop in the New Year.”